The two new planets could potentially support life. Image Credit: NASA
The new worlds are so much like our own that both are now on a list of the 19 planets most likely to support life.
Situated a mere 12.5 light years away in orbit around a star in the constellation Aries, the planets - Teegarden b and Teegarden c, add to the growing list of potentially habitable extrasolar worlds.
"The two planets resemble the inner planets of our Solar System," said astrophysicist and lead study author Mathias Zechmeister. "They are only slightly heavier than Earth and are located in the so-called habitable zone, where water can be present in liquid form."
Incredibly, the star around which these planets orbit - despite its proximity - was only discovered in 2003 because its dim appearance, small size and low mass made it difficult to detect.
"The planets Teegarden's Star b and c are the first planets detected with the radial velocity method around such an ultra-cool dwarf," the researchers wrote.
"Both planets have a minimum mass close to one Earth mass, and given a rocky, partially iron, or water composition, they are expected to have Earth-like radii."
Determining exactly what type of atmosphere these planets have however is likely going to require the services of the James Webb Space Telescope which won't be launching for another two years.
Until then, we can only speculate as to whether or not life might exist there.
Source: Science Alert | Comments (18)